Hope everyone has an awesome New Years!
I plan on just staying in and having a quiet night.
On with the show!
Smith drank the last of his coffee then took a deep breath. He’d have to go back soon. His stomach clenched. He didn’t want to go back, but he had to. It was only one more month, one more month then he’d be free for six months. He didn’t know if he’d come back yet, he hadn’t decided. They wouldn’t mind if he didn’t. Very few people came back. Frank did though. That was weird. He worked as much as he could, a close eye was kept on him of course, but he was completely normal, at least as normal as someone working here could be. He was the only one who used his full name. It was last name or first name only for everyone else.
He jogged on the spot for a second, trying to psyche himself up. He got back into his car and started to drive, it was only a short distance, five minutes or so. The forest road was well maintained but looked old and unused, they didn’t want people exploring around here, though of course it occasionally happened. They were scared off or chased by an angry man, usually screaming for them to get off his property. Most people never really got that far though, usually they got a headache or started to feel sick. It would last for a few hours. Smith had to undergo training before he was able to come close to the building, even then he felt faint twinges of nausea for the first week. The only thing that kept him going was the knowledge that it was an important job, one it had to be done.
He made his way into the building, there wasn’t much security, few people managed to get this far and even if they had, they would have been tracked from miles out. He got out of the car and started towards the building, ignoring the unease he was feeling. The wind was blowing through the trees, rattling their branches. He hadn’t felt the pull in a few days, he was thankful for that. It was difficult to ignore sometimes, but each time it happened he’d reported to the isolation rooms. Once there they were locked inside for six hours, the longest anyone has ever felt the pull.
Inside Smith walked past the few empty desks and made his way down the metal stairs. When he reached the bottom he went through another door and took a seat in front of the first desk. The other guy there nodded at him once. Smith hadn’t caught his name, but he didn’t really care all that much either. He took a book out of his desk and started to read. He didn’t have to really do much, that was part of what could make the job so difficult. They just had to be nearby. It calmed everything. The door itself was still a good distance away, a few hundred feet through heavy, locked doors. They had originally just sealed up the place, but that lead to earthquakes, stronger pulls, even a few forest fires. Things which were designed to attract people, anyone, close enough to fall under the stronger pull. Smith didn’t know exactly what happened the last time it opened, he only knew it was bad and that was enough for him. He had enough nightmares about it on the scant information he had been given in orientation. Everyone here was on edge and that was how they liked it, if everyone was on edge there was less chance that an accident could happen, that someone would slip through the cracks, that that door would open.
The door was one of fifty, scattered across the globe, the people he worked for monitored every last one. There were cameras about the building that monitored from a central base. Should anything happen that they missed, alarms would go off to alert them. It reassured Smith that there were layers of security, protocol that couldn’t be broken. The most doors that had even been open at the same time were three, at least in recorded history. Smith suspected that once they were all open. When the world was a much worse place. He didn’t know who or what had closed them, but he was thankful that they had. The doors to hell had to remain closed at all costs, Smith knew that, that was why he continued to work there, why he suffered through the discomfort, the pain of being in close proximity, the pull that sometimes gripped him so tightly he thought he wouldn’t be able to resist it. The fear that one day he wouldn’t be able to face coming in, the fear that on that day he’d take his own life like so many of the others had.